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Regional Council publishes Napier Port decision papers

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council says papers informing decisions on how best to fund Napier Port’s expansion have been uploaded onto the Regional Council’s website today and interested parties are encouraged to read them.

The papers have been uploaded ahead of the Regional Council meeting on Wednesday 19 December 2018. The papers outline in detail the extensive process to date in considering how best to fund Napier Port, an assessment of the submissions received and the decisions now before the Council.

Regional Council Chief Executive, James Palmer, acknowledged the high level of public interest in the process and thanked people for their submissions.

“This has been the most comprehensive consultation ever undertaken by the Regional Council with more than 200,000 consultation booklets, flyers, postcards and submission forms distributed across Hawke’s Bay.

“This has been supplemented by 785 local radio ads, print ads and a social media campaign estimated to have reached 30,000 people.”

Mr Palmer noted that no final decisions will be taken on Wednesday, rather the key decision on which option to progress will be in principle and subject to further advice.

“Of the 3,569 submissions received, approximately 57 per cent supported the Council’s preferred option of raising capital to fund the Port’s growth by floating a minority interest in the Port on the NZX stock market.

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“Should Council vote to proceed down that route, as one of four options being put before Council, Council staff have recommended a listing of between 33 – 45 per cent of shares, which reflects community support for Council to retain majority ownership and control.

“Further reinforcing public sentiment, staff have recommended that any decision to proceed to a minority share market listing maximises the opportunity for local participation through preferential allocations for local residents, Port staff and local iwi.”

Mr Palmer says while councillors are satisfied with the clear need for a new wharf at the Port, the papers recommend that any final decisions to secure funding for the Port be contingent on the detailed business case for the wharf being approved by the Port’s Board of Directors.

“Additionally, these papers directly address some of the key themes and questions that were raised by submitters, including around the possibility of funding for the Port via the Provincial Growth Fund; the rationale for current Port debt; the Council’s dividends received from the Port; and Port funding decisions in the context of Central Government freight and port policies.

“Decisions around how best to fund our Port are important decisions for the Port, the Regional Council, ratepayers and the Hawke’s Bay economy. I encourage people with an interest to read these papers and to consider either attending the Council meeting on Wednesday or watching it on the Regional Council’s Facebook page."

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